Meet the team: Elizabeth Krajewski, Senior Manager of Data and Research
Tell us a bit about your story. How did you come to be involved in this work?
I grew up in Jacksonville, attending Duval County Public Schools from first to eleventh grade, graduating from Camden County High School in Georgia. I returned to Jacksonville for college, attending Jacksonville University where I studied Economics, English and Philosophy in preparation for law school.
For graduate school, I attended Florida Coastal School of Law and Jacksonville University as a member of the first Juris Doctor-Master in Public Policy (JD-MPP) program in the state of Florida. While in graduate school, I spent my summers teaching reading courses for the Institute of Reading Development. I also had the opportunity to intern for JPEF while in grad school and spent a year researching and analyzing the capital infrastructure and technology of Duval County Public Schools. This research helped me develop my passion for education policy.
After completing the JD-MPP program, I had the opportunity to lead research efforts for the Jacksonville Civic Council. This allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the public policy process in Jacksonville, as well as explore other areas of policy, including public finance, pensions, human rights and downtown development. I then had the opportunity to serve my alma mater as the Master in Public Policy Program Manager, where I managed the academic and public policy programs. While there I helped update the MPP curriculum, launch an executive degree track, expand the minor in Public Policy and serve as pre-law advisor.
What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
I am most proud of the work that I have been able to accomplish with my students. When I taught for the Institute of Reading Development, I had the opportunity to work with students as young as four years old that were just learning their letters, all the way up to adult professionals who were looking for speed reading techniques to be more efficient at work. Since then I have had the opportunity to develop the curriculum and content for two college courses related to public policy.
In every classroom I led, there was no greater feeling than seeing the “a-ha moments” when a student finally makes a breakthrough or connection with the material. To know that I played a role in helping or inspiring a student is so rewarding and I am grateful for the connections I have been able to make with each one of my students.
Who is a teacher who helped inspire you as a leader and community advocate?
I always have a hard time picking just one teacher because I have been lucky to have so many excellent and inspiring teachers! I think the one that inspired me specifically to be a leader and community advocate was my first Economics teacher in my senior year of high school, Mr. Crooks. He helped me develop a love for economics and the ability to apply critical and theoretical thinking to solve problems.
Mr. Crooks also challenged me academically - when his introductory course was too easy, he advocated for me with the school administration to take AP Microeconomics. This ended up leading to my major selection in college, but it also demonstrated the importance of advocating for what you think is right. Mr. Crooks encouraged me to join the executive board of the Key Club where I was able to volunteer and engage in the community, developing a passion for giving back and leading in the process.
What makes you excited to join JPEF and work on behalf of public education?
I am really excited to bring my passion for data and research together with my love of education. I was raised on the belief that education is a power that no one can ever take from you and I am thrilled at the opportunity to help power that potential for students in Duval County Public Schools. I also believe that research is only as good as the audience you share it with, so I am excited to help empower the community to advocate for public education as well.